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Periodically quieting the mind is not a cure-all for life’s problems, but the benefits to our mental and physical health are amazing.
Take, for example, the experience of students in several San Francisco middle and high schools. Twice each school day, when a gong sounds in the classrooms, the students close their eyes and spend time clearing their minds. The schools call it Quiet Time.
The Quiet Time program started in one San Francisco middle school in 2007. The school is in a neighborhood where gun violence is too common. Prior to implementing Quiet Time, teachers regularly used sick days to enjoy a break from the angry, out of control behavior typical of many students. The school’s academic standing was poor, the drop out rate high, and nothing that was tried made a significant difference—until Quiet Time.
After four years of engaging in daily Quiet Time, the school’s suspension rate dropped dramatically and daily attendance rose to 98 percent. Student grade point averages increased and about 20 percent of the school’s graduates were admitted to an elite high school, something that rarely happened prior to 2007.
Today, all schools involved in the Quiet Time program brag about its benefits:
When something works as well as the program called Quiet Time, it is worth sharing. It makes the benefit of quieting our mind—also known as meditation or mindfulness—obvious and may inspire more individuals, schools, or places of employment to offer a similar practice.
Even 15 to 60 seconds of mental quietude scattered throughout a busy day can relieve stress, refresh of mind, enhance creativity, and help to elevate the mood. Quieting our thoughts is one of the most effective mental and physical health tools available. It costs only a bit of time and effort, and the rewards are priceless.
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